Westfield Newsroom

Councilor Flaherty: Thank You

I’d like to thank everyone who voted on Tuesday. I’d like to thank Gerry Tracy and Nick Morganelli for their years of service to the city. You both brought unique perspectives to the council and I think the citizens of Westfield were well served by your passions for various issues.
I’d like to welcome our new council member, Agma Sweeney and James Adams. I look forward to serving with you.
And finally, I’d like to thank everyone who stepped-up and ran for office. It’s a very hard thing to do. Not everyone wins the races, but the community at large wins when we have a diverse candidate pool and people who are willing to step up and serve for the greater good of the community. Thank you all.
Many of the races were very close this year. The City Council race was won with a 16 vote margin. Many other races were won with margins of 100 or less. The low turnout clearly affected the outcomes and the distribution of votes. Over 80% of eligible voters chose not to vote. That’s not a good sign. I know the storm recovery affected the turnout, and I know that not having any “big ticket” races affected the turnout, but I think we should be able to do much better than 20%.  With low turnouts, special interests and organized groups can really affect the outcomes. I got lucky this time. I made it by 25 votes. If you were one of the 25 votes that made the difference – THANK YOU. If you didn’t vote, I think you missed a great opportunity to shape the future government of Westfield. Even though there were no “big ticket” races, every race was local, and every race directly affected you and your family’s future. About 19,000 people didn’t vote. If only a small percentage of that 19,000 made the effort, the results may have been completely different. Next time you hear someone complaining about something that’s going on in the city, ask them if they voted, ask the if they’ve ever contacted a councilor or the mayor, and ask them if they’ve ever attended a meeting or taken a public stand for a particular issue. I know we can do better. Please get involved. We need your help.
Next week, we should be taking up the tax rate and shift issues. The Finance Committee is meeting on Tuesday evening, and the full council is meeting on Thursday. Now’s the time to talk to your councilors or to show up to a meeting. Everyone wants lower taxes, but this year it’s important to remember that we’re not really lowering spending, we’re deferring expenses. If we choose to save $50 per homeowner, it’s that same thing as saying, “I’ll pass the debt on to my kids”. That $50 saving this year, may cost your kids $100 or more in the future. Please think about that before you advocate for lower taxes.
I’d like to wrap-up by congratulating the Boy Scouts of Westfield and their families. They spent over 600 hours helping dozens of their neighbors recover from that crazy storm. Their service to the community is greatly appreciated, and these young men and their families deserve a lot of credit. Next weekend the Boy Scouts from Troop 109 and 821 will be hosting fun activities at Camp Moses in Russell on Saturday. Boys in grades 5-8 are welcomed and encouraged to attend.Troop 109 will be hosting the annual Survivorman Adventure – bridge building, fire skills, emergency shelters, obstacle course, and maybe even some catapults.The event is free. More information can be found online at www.SurvivormanAdventure.infoHope to see you there.

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